Leone Prep vs. Education Minister, AG:

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High Court orders applicant to re-file

October 21, 2015 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara

The High Court of Sierra Leone yesterday told the applicant in a motion filed against the Minister of Education, Science and Technology and the Attorney General to re-file as filling procedures were not properly followed.

Justice Miatta Samba told the crowded court in her ruling that the applicant had failed to give the Attorney General requisite notice as stated in section 3(1) and (2) of the State Proceedings Act of 2000. She stated that the matter would only progress after those statutory requirements have been met.

“This matter will proceed after meeting the requirement set out in section 3(1&2) of the State Proceedings Act of 2000,” she ruled. “I will not dismiss the matter but rather invoke section 4(2) of the same Act”.

The said section referred to by the judge states that: “No proceedings shall be commenced against the government under section 2 until the expiration of three months after written notice of intention to commence the proceedings has been served by the claimant or his attorney or agent on the Attorney-General”, while sub-section 2 adds that: “The applicant shall state the cause of action, the name and place of abode of the intended claimant and the relief.”

Earlier in her submission, counsel for the respondent, A. Sunni, urged the court to dismiss the matter as the applicant’s notice of service failed to comply with the State Proceedings Act of 2000. She said the originating notice of motion dated 3 July, 2015 to the date of commencement of trial is 75 days, a shortage of 15 days.

Counsel noted that section 5(2) of the High Court Rules of 2007 was also violated as the applicant failed to request in writing the Attorney General’s notice.

But counsel for the plaintiff, Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, insisted in his submission that they had served the Attorney General in time, adding that the unavailability or busy schedule of the latter to receive the notice will not be admissible before the court.

It could be recalled that the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law (CARL) in September filed a lawsuit on behalf of Leone Preparatory School, seeking a judicial review of an order by the Ministry of Education to close the school in July this year.

The suit was filed in the High Court of Sierra Leone pursuant to Order 52 of the High Court Rules 2007. The applicant is the Leone Preparatory School, while the respondents are the Minister of Education and the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

The suit seeks a declaration that the decision by the Ministry of Education was contrary to law and violated the principles of natural justice.

It also seeks an order declaring that the action was disproportionate, excessive and that it unjustifiably deprived hundreds of pupils of their right to education.